FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 6, 2014) – Inspired by Tuesday night’s dramatic, double overtime win over Lipscomb in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, the ETSU men’s basketball team will be looking to make more history Thursday night as the Buccaneers take on Florida Gulf Coast in the semifinals.
Tip is set for 6:30 p.m. inside Alico Arena, and the game will be available on both regional cable courtesy of CSS, and on ESPN3.com via live video streaming.
The Bucs (18-14) split two games with the Eagles (21-11) earlier this year, losing on the road in Fort Myers, but then picking up an 89-81 victory inside the Dome. If the Bucs can win this matchup, they would have an opportunity to play for the A-Sun title for the third time in six seasons, having won the league championship in 2009 and 2010.
For more on Thursday’s game, read the game notes below or click on the game notebook link to the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the postseason, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the hoops link.
We are “ETSU”
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called “ETSU” ... East Tennessee State University in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.
The Bucs in the A-Sun Tournament
Entering just their ninth Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, the Buccaneers are 12-6 all-time and have won nine of their last 12 games in tournament play ... Recently, ETSU enjoyed a perfect 3-0 run through the tournament back in 2010 ... The Bucs’ previous trips included a loss in the first round of the event in 2006, advancing to the finals in 2007, falling in the semifinals in 2008, and winning the tournament in both 2009 and 2010 ... In 2011, the Bucs lost to UNF in the semifinals. ... In 2012, the Bucs made the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Belmont ... Last year (2013), ETSU lost a quarterfinal matchup with Stetson ... In conference tournaments all-time (including the Southern and Ohio Valley), the Bucs are 42-24, having gone 8-3 in league championship final games.
Bucs hoping to add one more NCAA trip
Having already made nine trips to the NCAA Tournament in its history, the ETSU men’s basketball team would like to add another conference tournament trophy to the case in the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center ... The Bucs’ current stretch of success under head coach Murry Bartow is arguably the second best run in ETSU hoops history ... The most memorable stretch was from 1989 to 1992, when the Bucs made four straight trips to the NCAAS, were ranked in the Top 10 nationally (1991), and defeated Arizona in the NCAA first round in 1992 ... The Bucs only other trip prior to that run came in 1968 ... While head coach Ed DeChellis took the Bucs to the tournament in 2003, Bartow has taken the Bucs to the tournament three times (2004, 2009 and 2010), while also leading ETSU to the 2007 NIT and the 2011 CIT. ... Bartow holds the most NCAA trips and the most overall postseason trips of any coach in school history.
Last time out in the A-Sun Tournament
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. ( March 4, 2014) – Like the end of a great novel, the last chapter of the ETSU vs. Lipscomb story was simply unforgettable. ... In a series that has witnessed every imaginable late-game scenario unfold over the last nine years, the ETSU men’s basketball team overcame a 16-point deficit with eight minutes left in regulation, then fought through two overtimes to ultimately win thanks to a free throw with 1.5 seconds left by freshman A.J. Merriweather (Jackson), as the Buccaneers bested the Bisons 89-88 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Tuesday night inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... Merriweather got his chance to become the hero after Lipscomb’s freshman guard Josh Williams made a game-changing mistake. With the contest tied at 88, Lipscomb had the ball and a shot at the win but missed the attempt, leaving Merriweather to come down with the rebound under the Bisons’ basket – 90 feet away from the Bucs’ goal. Williams then inexplicably fouled Merriweather, sending him to the other end of the floor with a chance to win the game at the foul line. The freshman sank one of the two free throws, and a Lipscomb desperation shot then missed the mark to end the game. ... Those late-game moments did not appear to be in the cards for the Bucs for most of regulation, as Lipscomb built a 58-42 lead with just 7:53 left on the clock. However, at that point junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) sparked the Bucs, scoring 12 of his game-high 28 points during a 27-11 run that Riley ended with a foul shot to tie the game at 69-69 at the end of regulation.
The series vs. FGCU
The Bucs lead the all-time series against FGCU 10-4, and were one of the few teams to beat the Eagles a year ago during their historic Sweet 16 season ... That 85-75 victory came inside the Dome back on Jan. 12, 2013 ... The Bucs also won the last meeting between the two teams back on Feb. 13 of this year, 89-81 in Johnson City.
Last time out vs. FGCU
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 13, 2014) – Dunk City meet Trey City. ... The ETSU men’s basketball team hit nine 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 12 for the game, leading wire-to-wire in an 89-81 victory over Florida Gulf Coast in Atlantic Sun Conference play at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. .. Junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) scored a career high 31 points and four other ETSU players reached double figures to power the Buccaneers. ... Along with Rembert – who hit six 3-pointers on the night and moved into fourth place on the program’s all-time single season list for made threes – ETSU also got two double-double efforts from senior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) and freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson). Harris finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Merriweather added 10 points and 11 boards. ... Meanwhile, sophomore forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) netted 18 points on six 3-pointers, and junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wis.) netted 11. In addition, sophomore point guard Petey McClain (Mobile, Ala.) had eight assists on just two turnovers. For the Eagles, Bernard Thompson scored a team-high 23, while Chase Fieler added 17.
Rembert, Riley, Merriweather earn All A-Sun honors
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. ( March 3, 2014) – The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed quite a turnaround from its 2012-13 season, and a trio of Buccaneers were honored Monday for their contributions to those successes by being named to various All Atlantic Sun Conference teams. ... In a vote of the league’s head coaches, junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) was named first-team All A-Sun, freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson) was voted to the league’s all-freshman team, and junior guard Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.) was picked as the A-Sun’s Newcomer of the Year. ... Rembert led all scorers in A-Sun play at 18.3 PPG, as he connected on 3.4 three pointers against conference foes. His 96 three’s made this season is tied for 10th most in the A-Sun record books, and his 43.4 percent shooting from behind the arc ranked first in the A-Sun. Meanwhile, Riley added more scoring punch to the Buccaneer line-up this season as he registered 12.7 PPG in only 19.8 minutes per game and shot 86.2 percent from the charity stripe; second-best in the league. Riley increased his scoring to 13.1 PPG in league play as he came off the bench in all but one game this season. As for Merriweather, he continues to lead the Bucs in rebounding and steals per game, and has ranked as one of the squad’s top scorers all season.
Bucs have tradition of postseason appearances, success
The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of postseason success and ranks as one of the nation’s most prestigious basketball programs ... The Buccaneers have earned berths to the NCAA Tournament nine times (1969, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and NIT twice (1983, 2007) ... In 2011, the Bucs made their first ever appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, winning twice and advancing to the semifinals of that event ... It was the program’s 12th postseason tournament appearance all-time.
Rembert making place in history during 2013-14
Junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa, Fla.) has become one of the most feared shooters in the Atlantic Sun Conference, and this season he has rewritten ETSU’s record books ... With 100 3-pointers so far this season, Rembert has eclimpsed the program record of 86 makes in a season, set by Courtney Pigram (Memphis) in 2006-07. ... Rembert’s numbers are also some of the best in the nation for an outside shooter ... For those statistics, look to the column on the left of this page.
Resurgent Wilson giving Bucs a lift on offense
With his career high 31 points and seven made 3-pointers in the Jacksonville game (2/20), sophomore Lester Wilson (Knoxville) continued his recent resurgence as a major offensive weapon for the Bucs ... Since Jan. 25, Wilson is averaging 15.4 points and 4.8 rebounds a game, while shooting 48 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range, and 95 percent at the foul line ... By comparison, before his recent streak, Wilson had averaged 7.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game on just 33% shooting from the field and 26% shooting from 3-point range.
Free throws key to ETSU victories this season
What a difference a year can make ... Last season, the Buccaneers struggled for consistency at the foul line, but this year has been a different story ... The Bucs currently lead the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 75 percent shooting clip from the charity stripe, and their numbers are also good enough to rank 18th in the country in free throws made as of March 3 with 578 ... In fact, the Bucs matched the program record for free throw percentage in a game against Jacksonville (2/20), going 18-of-18 for 100 percent at the charity stripe. ... In addition, the Bucs have currently hit 609 free throws this season, which is a new school record, breaking the old mark of 589 makes in 1991-92 ... The Bucs’ 75 percent shooting mark would also rank first in program history, besting the .749 clip set in 1989-90, and individually, junior Jalen Riley is currently third on the all-time list for makes in a year with 153 on the season.
Merriweather continues to shine, posts double-double
Freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) has certainly made an impression this season, and he continued to make more news with his third career double-double in the win over Kennesaw State (1/4) ... In that game, Merriweather also netted a career high with 19 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds ... His current team ranks are first in rebounding (6.4 rpg), fifth in scoring (9.8 ppg), first in steals (1.4 spg), and third in minutes played (26.6 mpg).
Difference between winning and losing for ETSU
Rebounding has been a particular indicator for the Bucs this season when it comes to wins and losses ... The statistics below show the differences for the Bucs is several important categories so far this season.
Statistical category Wins (18-0) Losses (0-14)
ETSU scoring 84.1 PPG....................... 68.3 PPG
Opponent scoring 74.0 PPG........................ 79.5 PPG
Rebounding margin +0.3....................................... -7.5
Shooting % .471.................................... .386
3-pt. shooting % .399................................... .327
Assists 13.1 APG..................... 11.6 APG
Three-point streak for Bucs dates back nearly 20 years
Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 826 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game. ... The Bucs currently rank as the 7th longest streak in the NCAA, just behind Arkansas and ahead of Oakland.
Shuffling starters was the “new normal” for Bucs
Last season, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow used 17 different starting lineups in the team’s 32 games ... Injuries and dismissals left ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination all season. ... Bartow hoped to find more stability with his rotation in 2013-14, but he had used five different starting lineups in the first five games of the year. ... Since that time, he has played with the same starting lineup in 20 of the last 26 games, with the team going 12-8 in those contests.